Business account executive Dave Lopez is making his fifth run for City Council.
Lopez, 40, is part of a four-way race to succeed outgoing Councilman Bob Dunbar, who defeated Lopez in 2003. Dunbar is not seeking re-election.
Lopez's priorities include dedicating resources to public safety, setting aside money for road repairs and working to improve the San Joaquin Valley's air quality.
He recently sat down with The Bee to answer questions about why he entered the race one more time.
Q: Why are you running for City Council?
A: To make a difference in my community. Neighbors, friends and family came to me and said, "Dave, you've got a big mouth, why don't you go out there and use it?" That's why I'm running for City Council -- to stand up for the little guy and make a difference in the city.
Q: Was there an experience in your life that made you want to get involved with local government?
A: My father never took assistance from the county even though there were six of us, but we always had a roof over us and food on the table. When we moved here, my dad found out about a program called Title I (which provides public assistance for schools in disadvantaged neighborhoods). My dad wanted to find out about it and he started going to meetings. He went to so many meetings the board took him to dinner. The bill came, and my father reaches for his wallet. They say, "Don't worry, we'll take care of it out of the funds." My dad said, "No, that money is for the children." They said, "No, Mr. Lopez, you don't understand."
He went back to that meeting and said you're misusing the funds. They told him to leave. He went home and called friends and neighbors and came back to the board and demanded they resign.
He got elected president of Title I. He stood up and made a difference.
Now here I am trying to make a difference. I've got my dad's heart and I've got my dad's mouth. My dad's my hero, and not a lot of kids have that. So for a lot of kids out there who don't have a hero, I'm offering myself up.
Q: What's your top priority if you get elected?
A: Top priorities are gangs and drugs. We need to take care of that. What we really need to do is go after the young offenders, find out where the gangs do business and how they do business. With that as an example, some of the young offenders will see how the good side can prevail, and I think all Modestans will welcome them to make a difference in the community.